They’re just the latest celebs to issue a statement.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the latest public figures to address the controversy surrounding accusations of COVID-19 misinformation on Spotify podcasts. In December 2020, the couple announced a multi-year deal with Spotify to roll out Archewell Audio. Now, Harry and Meghan have released an official statement on Instagram about their relationship with Spotify.
"Since the inception of Archewell, we have worked to address the real-time global misinformation crisis," their statement read. "Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis-and disinformation every day."
The controversy surrounding the audio streaming app largely stems from accusations by several musicians of COVID-19 misinformation being shared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. The host is known for interviewing controversial guests, including a virologist suggesting people were hypnotized into getting vaccinated.
Rogan’s podcast hasn’t sat well with several musicians whose catalogs are available to stream on Spotify. As Rolling Stone reports, on Jan. 25 Neil Young penned a now-deleted letter to his management and record label, demanding his music be pulled from the streamer.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines—potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young wrote, Rolling Stone reports.
Joni Mitchell also announced she’ll be leaving the platform. “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify," Mitchell said in a brief statement on her website. "Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
As of Jan. 31, other notable celebrities to speak out include E Street Band member Nils Lofgren, who pulled his music, and famed author Brené Brown, who indefinitely paused her podcast. In a tweet on Jan. 29, Brown did not state why she was pausing her podcast.
Though Harry and Meghan are speaking out this week, they said in their statement that their company’s co-founders first expressed concerns to the streaming giant about misinformation on the platform in April.
"We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis,” the statement read.
The Duke and Duchess have not publicly removed their work from the app. It’s worth noting they have not been actively recording podcasts of late. The last segment of their “Archewell Audio” series was published in December 2020. They mentioned in their statement they plan to work with the app to seek a solution. "We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does,” they said.
In response to Simon and Mitchell pulling their music, Rogan has also spoken out. "Whenever I get something wrong, I try to correct it because I’m interested in telling the truth," Rogan said in a video shared to his Instagram page over the weekend where he noted he’s a Neil Young fan.
Rogan is believed to be one of the most popular podcast hosts on Spotify. The Washington Post reports he has an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, and The Wall Street Journal reported in 2020 his deal with the streaming platform was worth more than $100 million.
In a statement published Jan. 30, Spotify announced they’re working on adding "a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.” Rogan said in his Instagram video that he is fine with the inclusion of a disclaimer. However, he’s “not interested in only talking to people that have one perspective.”